Into the Depths: June 2006

Friday, June 30, 2006


I had dinner with my ex-husband tonight. Well, really I had drinks, no dinner, whatever. I don't know why. He asked, I said ok. Whatever.
I just wanted all of cyber space to know that I don't think that I could be any more stupid if I actually tried for it.
The End.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Trust or Not So Much

I had another good question asked of me today. I began to answer it in comments, but realized rather quickly that it was going to be a long one. Here is the question that Shayne
"I have read your posts for the past week though and I'm wondering...why exactly is it that you don't believe God? Do you know? If you sat down and really concentrated on it, could you pinpoint the reason you're afraid to trust Him?"

To me this was a huge question. I drive all day for work, so I have a ton of time for contemplation, well, when I am not on the phone, anyway. Today, one of our crews hit a gas line. As you might imagine, that is taken pretty seriously. So, I had two hours of sitting in front of a house watching gas spew...the vapors anyway...while waiting for the repair crew to get there. I got out my notepad and just started writing my answer. Three pages later, the repairman showed up and I was able to go about my day. So, I will type all of that and see where I end up from there.

Firstly, the foundation upon which my knowledge of God was built had nothing to do with the love and faithfulness of God. I was raised knowing that God was holy and I was worthless. "God only helps those who help themselves", "How could you do that to God", "If you aren't good than you are a disappointment to God", and "If you don't forgive others, God will not forgive you." These were sayings that were drilled into me and I learned quickly that I would never, ever be good enough for this demanding God. Grace was and is a foreign concept to me. Keep in mind that mine was not a Christian home. We went to church sometimes, in fact, I would cry on the Sundays that my mother wouldn't take us. I remember when I was six and wanted to make my first communion. The priest gave me a quiz to see if I knew enough about the Bible to make the decision to love God. He asked me "How many animals did Moses take on the ark." My answer of course was two of every kind, which I am sure you know, was wrong. So since it was stinkin' Noah on the ark, I wasn't allowed to make any God-based decisions yet. As silly as it sounds, that made a huge impact on my view of God. Since to a young Catholic girl the priest is very much a picture of God, I began believing then that God was confusing and enjoyed playing tricks on me. However, at home, God was someone far off in the distance that you pissed off anytime you didn't do what mom told you to. It didn't matter what she or my father did, that wasn't the point. God didn't care if my parents were bad, only if I was. When I left the Catholic church at age 13, without any other member of my family, I was told that I was going to hell, in those exact words, and my aunt made sure I knew that she could no longer be my Godmother.
My point here is this, by the time I was of an age that I could have made the decision to decide if God were trustworthy, the foundation had already been laid. While a weak foundation in Christ seems to be like shifting sand, the foundation laid on the false beliefs that are my childhood, seem to be set in stone. I saw God as a condemning, angry, vengeful Being who couldn't wait to exact His judgment on me, so He didn't. He began punishing me the day I was born and hasn't stopped for a respite yet.
Secondly, any trust I had, was destroyed long before I even knew what trust was. As is standard in the circumstance of any blatant abuse, my trust was crushed. Beyond that, however, were just the basic needs necessary for any child to find security that simply couldn't be met in my home. Financially we were at the very low end of the barrel. I remember a time when we would rent a motel room for an hour once a week so that all eight of us could take a shower as we had no water at home. We weren't allowed to touch anything or sit on the bed because they would charge my dad more money if anything were disheveled when we left. I lived in 9 different houses by the time I went to high school. We would get so behind on rent that we would be evicted and have to move again. We often went to school with no lunch and I would lie and say I wasn't hungry when asked because I was too embarrassed to tell anyone the truth. I remember one specific occasion where my dad only had five dollars left. He decided he needed a pack of cigarettes so we all went to school with out lunch once again. When I was in the eighth grade our electricity was once again shut off. A year and a half later, someone anonymously paid the bill so it could be reconnected. That was our longest outage but there were many more for weeks and months at a time.
Emotionally speaking...........well, we didn't. The only emotion allowed was anger. I remember being sent to the cellar "if I wanted to be a baby and cry." I was four. Crying equaled weakness. There was always someone screaming and shouting in my house. ALWAYS. This is why today I am horrified at the thought of confrontation and often avoid it to my own detriment. Affection was nonexistent in my house. I do not remember ever, ever hugging my dad, that remains true to this day. My mother tells me that I was affectionate with her until I was five but I do not remember that. My question is, why, as a mother, when your five year old suddenly becomes unaffectionate, do you not realize that something is wrong......but I digress. I have already mentioned how needs were met....or not....in the spiritual realm. Here is where I believe this adds to my inability to trust. If a child can not depend on anyone to meet their needs, be they physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual, she has very little choice. I personally decided, though probably not consciously, that I would have to meet my own needs. For those that I could not even meet on a temporal level, I simply learned to deny there existence.

I suppose my answer really is as simple as experience. There isn't one moment to pinpoint it down to, it is the compilation of my life that lead me to the belief, or lack there of. I could have probably saved you the trip down memory lane and simply said that I have no reason to believe that He is in fact trustworthy. As I have said, I know He is, because He says He is and He is perfect and can not lie. However, in my life, I see no evidence, which I suppose just reiterates my lack of faith. Being that 'faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things NOT seen.' If I could form my beliefs based on the opposite of most events in my life than I would probably be a very trusting person. I have 'accepted' Christ as my Savior more times than I can count. The time I choose to tell everyone was the one that saved me happened when I was eighteen. That was the last time I asked Him. I figured that if it didn't work that time, then it never would, so why keep trying. I still don't know if it worked, probably won't ever know. I know that a life change never took place because I could never really trust Him. So I guess that is the question. Is asking enough? If I can't trust that He forgives me, if I can't trust that He loves me, can I truly say that He saved me? Only He knows, I guess. I have really rambled this time.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Thank you to all of you who are praying for my mother. She is doing better, so much as you can be doing 'better' when on chemo, anyway. She is not throwing up anymore which is good, however she is extremely tired all of the time and the weakness is just getting worse. On to brighter subjects.

My nephew, Blayne, called me tonight from camp, apparently they allow cell phones there these days. He said "Hey Steph, I just called to tell you I made my choice today, it was this morning at the tabernacle." My heart broke with joy and sadness all in an instant. I told him how very proud and happy I was for him. I was honored that he called me to tell me the news. I was saddened at my own lack of joy and even more so that my life has not been all it could have been in leading him to this place in his life. I hate that when he and his friend stayed the night two weeks ago and he began telling his friend how much he would like my church, that I said, uhh, we won't be going to church. I am happy that his mother is proud of his decision and will support him in it. I am sad that my mother hated me going to a church that encouraged a relationship with Jesus and that she told me I wasn't allowed to get baptized until I was 18 because she was hoping I would change my mind and remain Catholic. Apparently the baptismal waters would wash the Catholicism out of me. Anyway, whatever, I just wanted to share the news. Way to go Blayne, I love you!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


To Whom It May Concern: If you are puking you will be taken back more quickly than others in the E.R.

For Your Information: A 'Hall' bed in a large hospital emergency room is neither private nor spacious.

In Case You Were Interested: If the doctor wants you to do the opposite end of puking, you will get that private room.

Don't Forget: Other than the fact that it might save your life, chemotherapy sucks.

Note To Self: Physically exhausted = Ridiculously emotional

Monday, June 26, 2006


If anyone happens to read this soon, as you are my only friends, ok the only people I communicate with, all be it a strange way to do so...............whatever. My mother is on the way to the emergency room. Since Friday evening she has been able to keep nothing down, that includes her medication, so the doctor finally said to take her to the e.r. I am going to change clothes and meet her and my sister there. Anyway, prayers are appreciated, hopefully He will hear and take notice.

Nothing Serious, Seriously

Alright, I am going to try really hard to have an entire post that is about absolutely nothing that is deep or disturbing or chaotic or confusing. Today was definitely a Monday at work. It is the end of the month which for me means really freaking busy. All of our builders are trying to get houses closed by Friday so that they will get their bonuses, which means that EVERYTHING is an emergency to them. It is a fence for crying out loud.
My nephew Blayne left for church camp today and I am actually jealous. He is going, for the second time, to the camp I went to most of my years as a youth. I also went with the kids as a sponsor when I 'grew up'........JoyfulJourney, didn't we go together one year? I went as a sponsor with the youth at a friends church too. This was back before I realized that responsibility was a bad thing for me. Anyway, I am totally jealous. Summer camp was so dang cool. It is like a completely different world. I remember it always went way too fast and I hated having to come back home.
I realize now that if I am not talking about all the chaos, I really have very little to say. I have never been very good at small talk. Sorry.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Church Or Lack There Of

I should be getting ready for church. After having gone to church my entire life, I have in the past year and a half somewhat given up on it. I still go, all-be-it sporadically, perhaps every month or so. I currently sit at 7 weeks of absence. My problem now is that I don't feel like I can still go to the church I had been attending for the past three years. Long story that I will probably never go into here. It seems so overwhelming to me, however, to go out and try to find a new church. The only people I know, I know from church, so I can't just go to a 'friend's' church. I am going to have to just go out and walk in one that....what?... looks like a nice church by the name of it?? I don't know. Being that I am tremendously avoidant in dealing with social situations at this stage in my life, I am not really sure how I will walk, alone, into a room full of strangers. I could just put all my feelings out of my mind and go to my old church this morning. I know what will happen when I get there. I will feel overwhelmingly uncomfortable, begin rehashing my self-defeating guilt, start wondering why I went in the first place, wonder if anyone will notice if I just get up and walk out, suffer through the sermon that I can put no stock in, then leave feeling far worse than when I got there and asking myself why I bothered. Sounds like a happy Sunday. Maybe I will just sit here on the couch and think about trying to go to church again next Sunday.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

I look like a lobster. Someday I will learn to put on sunscreen, today was not that day. After four and a half hours at Hurricane Harbor, six of the seven boys I took had to be at their last ball game back in Cleburne. So we drove, really fast, and made it on time. Then we sat for another two hours in the 100 degree Texas sun and watched them lose their last game of the season. They were so tired it was almost humorous. I was so hot and burnt that it wasn't at all humorous. Enough about today.

Sometimes when I receive comments in a post I am asked questions and sometimes my answer is so long that it seems like a whole other post. So, when I saw such a question tonight, I decided just to make a whole new post to answer it. Aren't you excited?? Here is the original post:

And here is the question asked by LiteratureLover :
"Your mother will never be able to pay enough. And probably, neither will you. That's the point. You can't. The tallies will never add up in your mind. But can you accept forgiveness? Or even give it, anyway? "

My answer is no. Why would I need a whole new post for that, you may be asking yourself. Well, let me tell you. If you knew me in real life, you would assume that of course I can give and receive forgiveness. That is because although you think you know me, in actuality you see what I portray which is nothing of what is real inside me. If you read my blog regularly than I'm guessing you probably already knew what my answer would be. The fact of the matter is I am not even sure what forgiveness actually is. I absolutely don't know the depths of giving nor receiving it. My assumption is that without the capacity to accept it, you probably don't have the capacity to receive it. Or vice-versa....That may be a "which came first, the chicken or the egg" type of scenario.
I long to know forgiveness, in both aspects. I am not completely sure why it is such a difficult concept for me. Perhaps it is my Catholic upbringing. Perhaps it is the shame that eats away at my soul telling me not that the things that I do are bad but instead that I, at the core of my being, am fundamentally a bad, unworthy, irreparable thing. A mistake that never should have come to be. I honestly don't know. I know the verses on forgiveness. I know that if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1John 1:9) I know that all have sinned. (Romans 3:23) I know that there are none righteous. (Romans 3:10) I know that God loves us while we are yet sinners. (Romans 5:8) So my knowledge of these facts should make forgiveness pretty cut and dry for me. Well, not so much.
Ok I just realized I have no answer except for no. The 'why' escapes me. I don't know why I can't believe that God could forgive me, or would even want to. I don't know why I can't forgive other people.....I didn't even realize how much I have not forgiven until very, very recently. I seem to discover more that I am angry about every day. Who the hell am I to hold anything against anyone. Why would God forgive me. If I expect other people to pay for their sins then why shouldn't God expect me to. How do I continually confuse myself more and more and more???

Friday, June 23, 2006

What's Left Of Me

OK, no ranting tonight, however, I reserve the right to change my mind about that at any given time. Nick Lachey (you know, the one who was married to Jessica Simpson) has a new song out. It is a pop song, but in my unprofessional opinion it could easily be a crossover to Christian if you assume, of course, that he is talking to God rather than a woman. For those of you whom the video never works for, I put the words below. I like the song, anyway. I have to take seven boys to Hurricane Harbor tomorrow so I should probably go to bed now. And before you say what a good aunt I am, I accidentally slept through my nephews last All Star T-Ball game last night, so not that good. Thanks to all of you who still come back to read this stuff even though it probably is annoying to have to hear me go on and on about all my crap.

'What's Left of Me'
N. Lachey/J. Cates/E. Kiriakou/ L. Robbins

Watch my life pass me by in the rearview mirror
Pictures frozen in time are becoming clearer
I don't wanna waste another day
Stuck in the shadow of my mistakes yeah
'Cause I want you and I feel you
Crawling underneath my skin
Like a hunger like a burning
To find the place I've never been
Now I'm broken and I'm fading
I'm half the man I thought I would be
You can have what's left of me
I've been dying inside
Little by little
Nowhere to go But goin' out of my mind
In endless circles runnin' from myself until
You gave me a reason for standing still
And I want you and I feel you
Crawling underneath my skin
Like a hunger like a burning
To find the place I've never been
Now I'm broken and I'm fading
I'm half the man I thought I would be
You can have what's left of me
Falling faster
Barely breathing
Give me somethin' to believe in
Tell me it's not all in my head
Take what's left of this man
Make me whole once again
'Cause I want you and I feel you
Crawling underneath my skin
A hunger like a burning
To find the place I've never been
Now I'm broken and I'm fading
I'm half the man I thought I would be
You can have all that's left Yeah, yeah, yeah
What's left of me
I've been dying inside you see
I'm going out of my mind out of my mind
I'm just runnin' in circles all the time
Will you take what's left
Will you take what's left
Will you take what's left of me
Will you take what's left
Will you take what's left
Will you take what's left
Take what's left of me

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I'm exhausted. Physically spent. Emotionally, what am I emotionally. I don't know. I want to fall apart. I'm afraid, however, that I won't ever get the pieces back together.

I went to my mother's first chemo appointment today. Well, the first two hours of it anyway. We were finally able to pull a prognosis out of the oncologist. 40%. That is her chance of beating this thing. Doesn't sound terrible. Five would be worse, but ya know, I could deal better with ninety-five or so. In Texas, when there is a forty percent chance of rain, that typically means don't bother getting out the umbrella. I don't like the 'odds' game. It makes me nervous, very very nervous. I tend to have really crappy luck, so I don't put much stock in the whole percentage/odds type of outcomes. He said that in two weeks she will have no hair. In ten to fourteen days her blood counts will begin to drop. She may become anemic and can not be near anyone sick....Tough when you have ten grand kids. She will begin to feel a little better around day 18 or so, then go back for round two on day 21. They do it this way because it is all your body can handle of the drugs. Three rounds of chemo over nine weeks, and then they will do radiation directly on the places where they know the cancer is. His hope is that the chemo will kill any cells that may have already spread to other parts of her body, but we pretty much just have to wait for a new tumor to see if it works. If after the chemo and radiation, the biopsy of the same lymph nodes comes back normal than we are doing well, otherwise the whole thing will start over. Her appointment was at 10:30 this morning, and she finished the treatment at 5:15 this evening. I don't really want to watch my mother die..........Who does though, right?

I have a brother that I try to pretend doesn't exist. I won't go into details. I found out today that he is planning to get married in three weeks. I hate that he gets to have a life. And this isn't an ultimatum because I am not saying it to God, but if that man gets to have a child, I don't know that I could ever, EVER, make peace with God about it. I know I have no choice. I know it really doesn't even have anything to do with me. I know that God can do whatever the hell He wants. But I will be one pissed off little girl. How dare he get to have a life. How dare he have the chance at a family. I suck at this forgiveness stuff.

Did I mention I want to fall apart. But I know I can't. The pain would come out and swallow me whole. I hate that I thought I beat something, and now, three years later, it is coming back at me full force. Taunting me. I am not strong, I am weak, I need it and it knows it. It laughs in my face when I try to convince myself that I can cope without it. I hate me. I hate this. I hate feeling and I hate thinking. This is why it is safer and wiser to stay locked inside my self erected prison. I am not enough of a person to survive life among the living. The numb emptiness of the walking dead is all I have the capacity for.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Beginnings or Something Like Them

My mother starts chemotherapy tomorrow. I am apprehensive. Shouldn't be I don't guess, it isn't me that will have poisons shot straight into my blood for hours tomorrow. Yet I guess I know that those poisons will decide my mothers fate, so I am nervous. I have been contemplating the possibility of my mother's death the last couple of days. I think, though I don't know from personal experience, that most people think about making peace, giving and receiving forgiveness etcetera, when someone is nearing death, or possibly could be. So I found it odd that I was not wondering if I would feel guilty if I didn't fix my relationship with my mother by forgiving her. I instead have been wondering if I will feel guilty for not allowing my mother to love me. I am, somewhat superficially(ie. not going too deep,) trying to decide if it is my fault that we have no relationship. If I am, out of spite or fear or anger or whatever, holding her at a distance myself. Perhaps I choose not to let her in my life. Is that my way of punishing her, of exacting vengeance? Can I change it? Can I forgive her for my childhood, can I admit, honestly, that she did the best she could......or even that she flat out screwed up..........but she is human and prone to mistakes like all of us? I remember about four years ago, she told me she loved me when we were getting off the phone, and for the first time since either of us could remember, I said it back. Not because I had an epiphany, but because I was tired of her complaining that I never did. She cried. So, now, even when it makes my stomach turn, I do my best to always say it back. Again though, I am faced with the how. You know, this time I am even faced with, do I really want to. If I am completely honest, I have to admit that I don't want to let her in my life and I don't want to let her love me. I don't want to give her the satisfaction. How horrible am I. She will go to fight for her life tomorrow as I selfishly hold mine for ransom. What is the price I wonder? What would she have to do to 'earn' my forgiveness, my love, my respect, my mercy. Holy crap I am being honest. It is a good thing that 99 % of those who read this don't know me. This honesty does provide perspective on my inability to forgive myself or accept God's forgiveness, though. If this is what I expect of those who hurt me, of course I would expect it of myself, even more so I think. I have to pay the price. I have to make it right. I have to make me right. Impossible. What a beating this thing called life is.

I started therapy today. By the above oversized paragraph you can see how far I've gotten so far. HA. Seriously though, I like the lady so far. I like that she asks questions rather than waiting for me to come up with things to talk about. I can't do that. I have mentioned before that I suck at talking. I was so nervous today. I would answer her questions in short, choppy, sometimes nonsensical answers. I avoided, changed the subject, looked at anything in the room but her. Overall, however, I tried to be as honest as possible. Well, I was honest, I didn't lie about anything, I guess I mean as real as possible. She says she wants me to come every other week as she expects this to be long term therapy (yes, I expected that) and she doesn't want me to go broke. I have no insurance of course, so it is all out of pocket. I think I would prefer every week though, I guess I will wait and see how this goes. Chances are, since she will be my one outlet in the world for now, that I would probably develop dependency issues were I to go too often.

She is a Christian, which is good. I thought, at first, of going to a church type counseling facility but was wary of the 'Sunday school' answers, and the 'just pray and God will make everything better' type mentality. So, I decided on a secular facility. I could tell by her profile that she probably was a Christian, so I wasn't too worried. I like that I can get a 'real world' perspective from someone who also believes that "God is right in the middle of the struggles with us" ( her words).

I am not thrilled about my homework. I have to read two books about my inner child. Gay. (My inner child isn't gay, don't worry, I just mean the concept. GAY) I get it, I mean I know she is right, it just sounds so dang cheesy. I also have to journal for at least five minutes a day. Blogging doesn't count??? I don't know why she supposes writing is better than typing but I guess I will just accept it and go along. What really bites is what she expects me to journal about. She wants me to write, every day, for five entire minutes, about something good that happens every single friggin day. I sometimes can't remember something good for the past several weeks....Every day, seriously???? So all day today I was trying to look for something good. UHHH work, more work, a little more work. All Star T-Ball game could be good......no we lost. All Star Kid Pitch could be good.......no, lost that one too. If the Mavericks don't win, I'm screwed for today. Can homework start tomorrow??? What am I supposed to write about, really? It is good that my car didn't blow up today. It is good that I didn't get fired. It is good that I didn't get any speeding tickets though I never drive the speed limit on the highway. Hmmm do those count?? My boss did tell me this afternoon that had we met before he got married he would have dated me in a heartbeat....don't worry he prefaced by saying he wasn't hitting on me and would never leave nor cheat on his wife, all of which I already knew. I think he has it in his head that my only reason for going into therapy is because I am not dating seriously or married. How very little he knows. He doesn't realize that the fact that he sees no reason for me to go to therapy simply means that my facade is serving it's purpose. My act is convincing.

OK, we have 26.2 seconds to go and we are down by three...I really need SOMETHING good to journal about. Please oh please hit a three. ahhh crap. We just lost the ball and fouled Wade. We are screwed. So much for that journal entry. I give up.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Movie Themes and Theme Parks

So, Six Flags was mostly fun. Only a little whining about lines or which ride we were going to or I'm hot, or I didn't get to win a basketball and he did...etc. etc. I had a rule that was set in stone before we went. No Wimps. If you go to Six Flags with me, you will be riding the big rides. I am happy to say they all did pretty well. My niece Casta was the youngest at six, and even she was a champ. She had me rolling with laughter right after we got off the Flashback. She would do fine in line and get on the ride with out complaining, then keep her eyes shut for the whole ride. Then when it was over and we were walking away, that is when she would begin to cry. I know that is sad and all, but I was laughing my head off. I was like, it's over, what are you gonna cry for now. It was as though it would hit her two or three minutes after we finished that she just accomplished this huge scary feat and the magnitude of the scary ride would overtake her emotions. It was funny stuff. And did you notice she can't just have her picture taken, she has to 'pose'.

Six Flags is next door to Ameriquest Field, where the Texas Rangers play. Lucky us, last night was Ranger's fireworks night. So we got to sit down in the parking lot on the way to the car and watch the fireworks, it was a perfect ending to a long, still fun, but long day. Except of course that we got to fight the traffic of everyone leaving Six Flags and the Ranger's game simultaneously which was not all that fun.

I dropped Casta off with her mother and the boys and I got home around midnight. We slept until ten which was great, but apparently I was still wiped out. They got picked up around two and I went back to sleep and didn't get back up until six. Oops. Hope I can go to sleep tonight.

Ok enough of Six Flags. When I finally did wake up, I watched The Interpreter with Nicole Kidman. I love that movie. It is so deep and emotional and that just happens to be my favorite kind of movie. There is one part, where they are talking about her family that was murdered. She says that when you lose someone you love you look for someone, anyone to blame. People will blame God if there is no one else. She tells of a ritual her people have where after a one year mourning period, they have a night long party. At dawn, the killer is taken out to the middle of the lake by boat and dropped in the water. He is bound so he cannot swim. The victims family is faced with a choice, let him drown or save his life. The legend has it that if they let him drown then justice is served but the family will live the rest of their lives in mourning. If they save him, if they admit that life isn't always fair, then their grief will end through the mercy they have shown. She says that vengeance is a lazy form of grief.

I love that part of the movie. It resounds with something deep inside me. I don't think I am an angry person. Well, I know I am not an angry person, so to speak, confrontation is the bane of my existence. What I mean is I don't feel like I have a lot of pent up anger locked away deep inside. However, once I really start thinking about it, I begin to think that perhaps that is a bit of my mother's denial issues passed on to me. When I think of people who have hurt me deeply, really think about it, there are no good thoughts there. I don't want to kill them or anything, fear not, but would I be sad if something terrible happened to them?? I don't really think so. Is that anger or just pure hatred, are those two the same things? Then there is me. Were I honest with myself, I would realize that I am beyond angry with me. I think that often times when situations with other people go wrong, when they disappoint or hurt me, quite often it is my far too high expectations for myself being projected onto them. They, like me, of course can't live up to them, so I see their failure, which reminds me of my failure, which is what actually ends up disappointing me. I have no idea where I am going with this. I have just been going over all this since I finished the movie and I guess I am trying to process it. I guess I am wondering how it is that you get to that point of showing mercy rather than holding on to your anger and incorrectly believing that your anger is somehow exacting vengeance on them? How do you come to that point, how do you let it go, how do you forgive and how do you move on? Without a physical person, drowning in the middle of the lake that you can swim out to save, how do you get to the point of mercy over vengeance? What does that look like in tangible terms? How do you do that with them and how do you do that with you? My thought is that until I understand how to get to that place with me, and actually do so, I will never be able to get there with anyone else. I am clueless as to the 'how-to' of the situation, though.

Ok, I'm done with the rambling for now. I think I will pop some Tylenol p.m. and go to bed.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Rambling, Rambling and more Rambling

I just realized it has been almost a week since I posted anything. I guess all that typing last time wiped me out. I don't really have anything to say, which is insane since my brain never shuts up and gives me a moments peace, none-the-less, I got nothin'.

I just got home from a swim meet of my nephews. I have to be at another one, tonight's contestants little brother, at 8:30 in the morning. Than I am taking that one, his friend and my six year old niece to six flags. It is going to be a LONG day. So, why am I up at 1:19 in the morning, you might ask??? Excellent question. I would give you an answer, but I don't have one.

This week was a beating, blew the compressor on the air conditioner on my work truck so I had to drive my expedition to work. Would have been fine with that until my battery decided to keel over today. So, new battery in my car, new compressor in my work truck, great, except.....I had to spend the afternoon fixing my car so I didn't have time to get my work truck home. I was so behind schedule that I got to the swim meet about 45 seconds AFTER my nephew finished his last race....ask me how happy I was about that hour drive for nothing. Had to pick up the work truck on the way home so I would have it on Monday. Realized that in the earlier rush I had left my keys on the counter at home. Couldn't just wait til tomorrow to get the truck because it was in the parking lot instead of the warehouse, so it would have most definitely been broken into. So I drove home, then back in the other direction twenty minutes to get the truck, then back home.

Did I mention it had been a long week. Brought three nieces home, finally got them all to sleep about half an hour ago. I am sure they won't be cranky at all when I wake them up at 6:30. Not to mention the fact that I will be primed to start "girl time" right in the middle of six flags tomorrow. Maybe I will be the cranky one tomorrow. OK going to bed, just wanted all to know that I have not yet fallen from the face of the earth. Night Night.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Reading/Blogging VS. Sleep

I have been reading a lot of books lately. I typically can't go to sleep unless I read first, which is fine, but then I end up staying up even later because I get into the book. But I digress. I just completed two books and have started on a third. I keep coming across excerpts that strike me as especially deep, true or profound to me. Unfortunately, I often forget where I read them and have to go all the way back through the books to find them, but oh well. I want to write here some of the ones that I felt most strongly about. Some of them I am able to believe now, and others I can currently only aspire to believe.

Excerpts from "Letters From A Skeptic" by Dr. Gregory A Boyd and Edward K Boyd

"We need to ask the question of whether love is worth it (the risk that freedom brings) from the broadest possible perspective. If this temporal life is all there is, if the suffering and death of victims spelled the complete end of their existence, then perhaps we might legitimately argue that the risk is not worth it- at least not for the victims. But for Christianity this simply isn't true. Our earthly temporal lives are but a brief prelude to a life that is going to go on forever. For a great many this life is indeed filled with nothing more than pain and suffering, but from an eternal perspective, this is only a small part of the whole story. Jesus died on the cross so humans could exist eternally in the peace and joy of God - Heaven - and the promise of scripture is that this state of being will be such that our present sufferings can't be compared to it (Romans 8:18). In the light of Auschwitz, it must be incomprehensibly beautiful - which is exactly what scripture says it is (1 core. 2:9).
If there is no Heaven, Dad, then all the sufferings, tears and cries of the dying children go unanswered. Life is finally tragic for all of us. All of our hopes, longings, strugglings, striving come to nothing, pure nothingness! "Life's a bitch, then you die." But isn't there something in the depth of your heart which refuses to accept this as the whole truth? Isn't there something within you which resonates with the Biblical proclamation that this story must have a happy ending?"

"Christians, then, are each much like a butterfly in a cocoon. The life of beauty, of flying, of gracefulness is within them - it's who they really are - but this life is enclosed inside something which is inherently opposed to beauty, flying, and gracefulness. They are destined to fly, but in the meantime their life is a life of transition. They are butterflies in the process of shedding their cocoons.
What is, I think, very important for you to realize, Dad, is that the way in which Christians are gradually freed from their "old" selves is not by their own hard work, but by just allowing the Lord to build up and strengthen the butterfly within them. The only food which the saved soul eats is God's love, and so it is only as we rest in the love which God has for us, even while we are yet in the cocoon, that we receive more and more strength and motivation to get out of the cocoon. As we let Jesus love us as we are, we increasingly become convinced that we can bust loose, we can be freed, we can fly - and the more we want to do so.
Thus, don't imagine for a moment that you can free yourself from your cocoon, or that you could on your own even want to be set free very badly. Your motivation and strength for living God's life only comes when God's life is already residing within you. Transformation is the effect, not the cause, of salvation."

"No matter what people believe, their belief will go beyond what the evidence requires them to believe. That's why it's a belief, and not certainty. This is true whether a person believes Christianity is true or false. On an intellectual level, both positions involve some degree of risk. One simply cannot have the kind of certainty one has in mathematics about either position. The question is not which belief is strictly required by the evidence, but which belief has the best evidence to support it. I believe, and I think you believe, that Christianity has much more going for it as a worldview than any alternative. But neither of us commits a logical contradiction if we deny it. There is always a "leap" involved in believing anything."

Excerpts from "I Hate You - Don't Leave Me" by Jerold J Kreisman, M.D. and Hal Straus

"Severe physical and/or sexual abuse is a common trauma in the history of borderline personality. When a child is abused, he invariably blames himself because (consciously or subconsciously) it is the best of the available alternatives. If he blames the adult, he will be terrified by his dependency on incompetents who are unable to take care of him. If he blames no one, pain becomes random and unpredictable and therefore even more frightening because he has no hope of controlling it. Blaming himself makes the abuse easier to understand and therefore possible to control - he can feel that he somehow causes the abuse and therefore will be able to find a way to end it; or he will give up and accept that he is "bad."
The borderline learns early in life that he is bad, that he causes bad things to happen. He begins to expect punishment and may only feel secure when being punished. Later, self-mutilation may sometimes be the borderline's way of perpetuating this familiar, secure feeling of being chastised. As an adult he remains locked in the child's confusing world, in which love and hate co-mingle, only good and bad exist with no in between, and only inconsistency is consistent."

"In a sense the borderline carries only a sketchy map of interpersonal relations; he finds it extremely difficult to gauge the optimal psychic distance from others, particularly significant others. To compensate, he caroms back and forth from clinging dependency to angry manipulation, from outpourings of gratitude to irrational hate. He fears abandonment, so he clings; he fears engulfment, so he pushes away. He craves intimacy and is terrified of it at the same time. He winds up repelling those with whom he most wants to connect."

"A borderline suffers a kind of emotional hemophilia; he lacks the clotting mechanism needed to moderate his spurts of feeling. Stimulate a passion, and the borderline emotionally bleeds to death. Sustained periods of contentedness are foreign to the borderline. Chronic emptiness eats at him until he is forced to do anything in order to escape. In the grip of these lows, the borderline is prone to a myriad of impulsive, self-destructive acts - drug and alcohol binges, eating marathons, anorexic fasts, bulimic purges, gambling forays, shopping sprees, sexual promiscuity, and self-mutilation. He may attempt suicide, often not with the intent to die but to feel something, to confirm he is alive."

Excerpts from "The Holy Wild" by Mark Buchanan

"This book is about resting in the character of God. I take it to be that resting and trusting are near synonyms: I rest where I can trust. I rest on the bed that I'm assured won't buckle beneath my weight, the room where I am confident I won't be left vulnerable to enemies or predators, in the house where I'm certain I won't be exposed to toxins or contagions. If I doubt any of these things, if I lack trust, I may sleep in the house or the room or the bed - but I won't really rest there. I'll do it out of sheer exhaustion, maybe, but not out of trust. I'll be fitful and anxious, always checking my back, tense and clenching, a hair trigger on my reflexes.
My point: How I think about the bed determines whether or not I rest in it.
God doesn't change, but how we think about Him does. Dreaded things, we suspect, lurk in the basement. It is hard for us to rest in God, because it is hard for us to trust."

"If I truly desire the Holy Wild - living face-to-face with the beautiful, dangerous God, not safe but good - I need to know who this God is. I need to know Him, more and more, deeper and deeper, with biblical clarity. To know Him in my head and in my creed but also - with King David's instinct - in my guts and in my bones.
If I am to go anywhere with God, to follow Him, by hook or by crook, staggering, leaping, dancing, crawling, all the way into the Holy Wild, I need more than textbook knowledge of Him. I need more than piety, more than erudition, more than good intentions.
I need to drink and drink from the stream, even if it means - especially if it means - getting swallowed up."

"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. Not that any one of us can have a full understanding of God. Saint Augustine walked the seashore one day, pondering the majesty of God. He saw a small boy who had dug a hole in the sand. The boy kept scooting down to the ocean, scooping up water in a seashell, and scrambling back to pour the water in the hole.
'What are your doing?' Augustine asked him?
'I'm going to pour the sea into that hole.' the boy said.
Ah, Augustine thought, that is what I have been trying to do. Standing at the ocean of infinity, I have tried to grasp it with my finite mind."

"A man I know who has traversed many seasons of pain said to me recently, 'God seems like that neighbor who keeps borrowing your stuff and either forgetting to return it or bringing it back damaged, with no explanation. You wonder how much more of your stuff you'll entrust to him.' Is He good?"

"And faith is finally this: resting so utterly in the character of God - in the ultimate goodness of God - that you trust Him even when He seems untrustworthy."

"That's sometimes what we are left with: a piece of straw to splint a broken heart, a fistful of wishes to fill a lifetime of emptiness. Yet there's a funny irony in all this. It's often those with scant experience of God's love who rest in it best."

"Helen's life has been a graveyard of loss, a scrapyard of betrayal. But ask her on any day what she knows, and she'll tell you, 'God is good. He loves me.' Her conviction about that hasn't come by toting up her days of wounds and wars, weighing them against her days of laughter and bounty, and seeing which tips the scale. Her belief has a different taproot: God is simply who He says He is, regardless of what her troubles might have tempted her to think or surmise. Helen stands in a venerable tradition. She is part of that great cloud of witnesses who, living by faith, refuse to reduce God to their own experience, to limit His love by the evidence of their own circumstances."

I didn't really realize when embarking on this post that it would consume two and a half hours of my night. What was I saying about staying up too late....

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Twin B

twin b Reesa
Originally uploaded by guidmongrel.
This is twin B, also known as Reesa. You can't see her very well, apparently she was being a little stubborn at picture time. The first one is a pretty sweet pic of the side of her face though. I still don't know how to post pictures via blogger, so you will have to scroll down to see twin A. Sorry for the finger workout.

twin A

twin a yawn Jolee
Originally uploaded by guidmongrel.
This is "twin A" known to us now as Jolee. How we will know that is who it is when she pops into this world, not a clue. They say she is yawning in the second picture. Personally I think it looks like I very ticked off scream. But that is just my professional.....ish......opinion.
And no, I was not listened to at all in the naming department.
Tonight I have three of my nephews staying the night with me so we can go to another nephews 'championship' baseball game at 8 in the morning. Blayne, who is eight, was looking at these pics with me and said "After they cut Aunt Jenji open to take the babies out, will they sew her back up?" I said "Well, they don't have to cut her to get them out, your mommy had twins and they didn't have to cut her open." To which he responded "Then how do they get out?" OOPS!!! I really should think before speaking when talking with children. I said nothing and called his mother but luckily we created diversion through chaos and he forgot about it. Hopefully he will be safely (for me) back home before he remembers that question.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Autism, What?

We found out today that my eldest nephew, Brendon, has autism. He is ten years old. This shocked me as I thought people typically found these types of problems out when the child is very young. Apparently this isn't always the case. What we see on T.V. or in movies is typically worst case scenario, where a child doesn't even speak or allow someone to touch him, so this was all I knew of the disease. Well, Autism is a 'broad spectrum disorder' which means it ranges from very severe to highly functioning. He is said to have 'Atypical Autism' or rather is said to be a highly functioning autistic. Just the good news my family needed around now. See that sarcasm flourishing.
Part of the reason it is so hard to accept I think, is because Brendon is so dang intelligent. In his first year of pre-k when he was three, his answer to the 'what do you want to be when you grow up' question was paleontologist. Not often that the pre-k teacher has to go to the library to look up how to spell what a three year old wants to be when he grows up. He has always had straight A's and has been in GT throughout grade school. So to be told your child, or nephew in my case, has a disease that typically effects the mentally challenged is a hard diagnosis to swallow.
My sister had already determined to begin homeschooling him this fall. He had so much trouble with his peers this year. There were screaming matches between she and his teachers, his principle, even the police were involved due to bullying. It was a nightmare year for Brendon. Being that he has no self esteem and suffers severely with anxiety this made the year all that much worse. He has already begun dealing with suicidal ideology. HE IS TEN. How does this kind of crap happen.
Anyway, the doctor is urging her to not only leave him in public school but to actually put him in special ed. WHAT?? He says that Brendon needs the one on one attention that this would provide. Well so would homeschooling right. How much worse will his life in school be when all of the children who gave him such a hard time this year find out that he is now in special education. Hopefully she will stick to her original plan.
Apparently his struggles, where he is really stunted, are in the area of social skills, obviously, and motor skills. So, he will now have to go to a speech therapist, I think he talks perfectly normal but what do I know, an occupational therapist, for motor skill development, and psychotherapy. This last part, the counseling part, is going to be the hardest for my very stubborn brother-in-law. The only emotion he knows how to show is anger, so when he is fearful, it comes out as ticked off. I can only imagine what it was like at their house tonight. The doctor says that Brendon and his parents have to go to the psychotherapy, which my brother-in-law, I guarantee, will fight to the death. We will have to wait and see I guess.
Well, that is all my good news for tonight. I figured everyone could use a break from my never ending questioning, so here ya go.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Cognitive Dissonance

'A psychological conflict resulting from simultaneously held incongruous beliefs and attitudes'

This is the state in which I find myself.

If someone gives me their answer to my questions and I can not accept automatically that it is the truth I am searching for, does that mean I don't really want an answer or does it mean that I must continue my search until the Truth is revealed in such a way that I can not refute it with other apparent 'truths'?

Is my questioning legitimate or is it just an excuse to not fall on my face at the feet of God in shame and hope against hope that He would forgive one such as me?

Does the fact that God's own Son questioned Him encourage me to question or humble me to blindly trust since He was willing to forsake said Son for, again, one such as me?

If an answer seems more congruent with what the character of God is can I accept it even if it is contrary to what I have always been taught?

When 1 Thessalonians 5:21 tells me to test everything, is it literal even when it seems so contrary to the 'christian' view that I should just take a leap of faith and hope for the best?

I have no idea, on all accounts. Thus, I struggle incessantly in my state of 'cognitive dissonance.'

Friday, June 02, 2006

More Questions

Here are some questions that have been shuffling around in my brain since my last question post. I am going to quote some of the responses I received so that I can then explain the questions that arose from those answers.....confusing isn't it.

"You said yourself that God is omniscient. If that's so, then isn't it possible that God knows already those who will never turn to Him and those who will?"

If it can be assumed that God knows who will and will not choose Him, thus it is alright that He would harden the heart of some, then I pose two additional questions:
1) If God knows the person could never choose Him, for what reason must He harden their hearts, aren't they already hard?
2) How does this mesh with the character of a loving God? If it is assumed that He only hardens the hearts of those who would never choose Him, then He knowingly created those people, put them on this earth to suffer life with the "chosen" ones, only to die and suffer eternal hell. Where is there any love in that scenario? That is not only unloving, unmerciful and ungracious, I would go so far as to call it sadistic.

As I write this, even more questions flood my mind. For instance, if it is known before you are born whether or not you are one of God's "chosen," how is it that you have a choice? Granted, in the finite human mind it seems like we are making choices, but aren't we really just fulfilling the "destiny" set out for us before the beginning of time? Am I just a puppet who can't see my own strings? If God knew me before I was born, if all of my days were written in His book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139) then how do I have any actual choice in anything at all? Do I just think that I decided to go to work today, when really that decision was made a billion years ago and "ordained" for me by God?

Moving right along..........

"God did forsake His own Son which, I agree, is unsettling. But, it seems necessary so that God stayed separate from sin."

If God had to forsake Jesus because of the sin that He took upon Himself on the cross, then doesn't it stand to reason that He must forsake me when I sin?

I have been told that I can never have answers to many of my questions. That I just have to have faith that God is God and that He is beyond my comprehension. I get that, however, I can not worship a God that I can't know. How can I not want to know the character of the God I would serve? How could I possibly believe that "God is love" if so much of what I see of Him is contradictory of that very thing? Can it be called a relationship if one does not know the Other?

I understand not needing to know how tall Jesus was, if Judas went to Heaven or Hell (which, by the way, is a whole other topic I'd like to know more about) what type of wood the ark was made from, if the bread they had at the last supper looked like the crackers we have for communion today or any of the other questions you can think of that really aren't going to make much of a difference in your life. None-the-less, if a question is central to the heart of who God is, or who I am, or how to know God or if He could love me.........I don't see how those questions can go unanswered and me still desire to pursue a relationship with God.
Maybe I am wrong, maybe I am being proud to think that I have any right to ask such questions. I don't know. I do know that if I am expected to shelve the questions and just walk blindly into the unknown, then I am not up for the challenge. I don't think it is a doubt thing. I know God is God, and I know He is the only One. I believe the Bible to be the inerrant word of God. I believe in Jesus and I believe that He died on the cross and then was raised from the dead. My questions don't stem from the root 'Is there a God.' Instead, at the core of me, I NEED to know what is at the core of Him.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Pathology Results

The cancer spread to my mother's lymph nodes. This puts her at stage III C. If we were dealing with say, a hundred or so stages, that wouldn't be so bad. Unfortunately, there are only four. She will begin chemotherapy in two weeks, the oncologist thinks that will be enough healing time from surgery. We will just have to wait and see how that goes I guess.

Is God Really Good?

Excerpts from A GRIEF OBSERVED by C.S. Lewis

"They tell me H. is happy now, they tell me she is at peace. What makes them so sure of this? I don't mean that I fear the worst of all. Nearly her last words were, 'I am at peace with God.' She had not always been. And she never lied. And she wasn't easily deceived, least of all, in her own favor. I don't mean that. But why are they so sure that all anguish ends with death? More than half the Christian world, and millions in the East, believe otherwise. How do they know she is 'at rest?' Why should the separation (if nothing else) which so agonizes the lover who is left behind be painless to the lover who departs? 'Because she is in God's hands.' But if so, she was in God's hands all the time, and I have seen what they did to her here. Do they suddenly become gentler to us the moment we are out of the body? And if so, why? If God's goodness is inconsistent with hurting us, then either God is not good or there is no God: for in the only life we know He hurts us beyond our worst fears and beyond all we can imagine. If it is consistent with hurting us, then He may hurt us after death as unendurably as before it.

Sooner or later I must face the question in plain language. What reason have we, except our own desperate wishes, to believe that God is, by any standard we can conceive, 'good'? Doesn't all the prima facie evidence suggest exactly the opposite? What have we to set against it? We set Christ against it. But how, if He were mistaken? Almost His last words may have a perfectly clear meaning. He had found that the Being He called Father was horribly and infinitely different from what He had supposed. The trap, so long and carefully prepared and so subtly baited, was at last sprung, on the cross. The vile practical joke had succeeded. What chokes every prayer and every hope is the memory of all the prayers H. and I offered and all the false hopes we had. Not hopes raised merely by our own wishful thinking, hopes encouraged, even forced upon us, by false diagnoses, by X-ray photographs, by strange remissions, by one temporary recovery that might have ranked as a miracle. Step by step we were 'led up the garden path.' Time after time, when He seemed most gracious He was really preparing the next torture."

I love to write, but am not even in the same universe as C.S. Lewis, so I figured I would just let him say this for me. I so relate to his aching heart. I admire that he had the courage to say what most Christians would shriek at.....though if they were honest, I presume, would have to admit relating to. My last post was full of questions. I received some very wise and unexpected comments. How refreshing it was to have Christian people respond to real questions about God and His character, in real and uncondemning ways. Thank you to each of you, but you will have to read my response in the comment section because you,oh so lucky you, have stirred up more questions.

A Question Of......

Here is all I know. Or at least what I wonder about.

I. God's idea of "protection" is not the same definition as currently set forth in the dictionary:

pro·tec·tion ( P ) Pronunciation Key (pr-tkshn)n.
A)The act of protecting.
B)The condition of being protected.
2) One that protects.
3)A pass guaranteeing safe-conduct to travelers.

His "protection" is the promise to not leave you alone while the opposite of all the above definitions are happening in your life. Yet, with His Son:

Matthew 27:46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" Which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

--if He would turn from His one, only, beloved Son, then certainly He could turn from one such as me. If God is always with me and yet I suffer physical, emotional, sexual or psychological harm, then He is not my protector, but instead my companion. I had a man break into my home one night as I slept back in 1997. He beat me in the head until my screaming convinced him to run out of the house. The week following that incident, my music minister called and said he needed me to sing on Sunday....I knew what song and I said no way. He said, too late your name is already in the bulletin. I sang feeling like a huge hypocrite and to this day hate that song. It was "Shout To The Lord." The lyrics, my comfort, my shelter, tower of refuge and strength....yeah, I so wasn't feeling it.

II. God does have the capacity to hate people. If He can hate one person, how can we know He does not hate others?

Malachi1:1-3 1 An oracle: The word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi. Jacob Loved, Esau Hated 2 "I have loved you," says the LORD. "But you ask, 'How have you loved us?' "Was not Esau Jacob's brother?" the LORD says. "Yet I have loved Jacob, 3 but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his mountains into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals."

My life experience, which is all I really have, does not tell me that God loves me. I know better....but do I really? My life doesn't tell me different, it is simply other's beliefs that have been drilled into me for the past seventeen years or so. So how do I know which is real. If all the evidence points one way even though what most call "truth" points the other way, where do I stand, in what I know or in what I have been told.

IV. God will harden a man's heart against Him if it suits His purpose. How then, is it that man's fault?

Exodus 9:12 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses.

I know people will try to rationalize all of these verses.......maybe that is what I am doing. Making them fit what I think they mean whether they do or not. For instance, the following verses mean to me that you absolutely can go too far. Furthermore, once you have gone that far, you can never come back. Perhaps I am wrong, but I don't know how it could mean anything other than what it says.

Hebrews 6:4-6 4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

It can't be talking about people who were never saved, it says "those who have shared in the Holy Spirit."

These are some of the thoughts, questions, fears, whatever, that assault my mind hour after hour, day after day. I don't know why I can't just let it go, realize that I am human and God is God and that is all there is to it, but I can't. I guess partly because these things are so central to who God is and what He is in relation to me. If it is possible that God hates me, how can I trust Him. If it is certain that He will not protect me, why would I trust Him. If God will do with my will whatever He chooses to accomplish His purposes, why do I have to care about anything at all, God will just make it happen. And if you can go to far, if you can walk away from the grace of God, assuming you had it in the first place, and once you have done so you can never return, well then I am in deep deep trouble.

I am sure someone is dying to yell at me after reading this. Call me blasphemous, sacrilegious, ungrateful, whatever you want. But God created me as an analytical person. God is omniscient. God knew before I ever set foot on this earth that these questions would fill my thoughts. I figure He's big enough to take them as He created me to ask them.